“We came in taking the team lightly, just being totally honest. In this league, you can lose to anybody if you don’t play right. I feel like we took that game lightly, and our focus point now is just refocusing – treating every team the same, like a championship game that we preach about. We’ve just got to live by it.”
— Shaquill Griffin, speaking on Thursday
So much for ‘always compete’.
Perhaps Shaquill Griffin was trying to avoid a clichéd, nondescript answer? It wouldn’t be the first time an athlete tried a little too hard to take responsibility for an embarrassing loss.
Even so, that answer above was difficult to digest and it seriously calls into question the mentality of the team.
Pete Carroll’s whole philosophy is based on competition. When a player comes out after a crushing, unexpected defeat and says they ‘took their opponents lightly’ — that is the opposite of a competitors mindset.
It’s even worse when you consider what was at stake.
With five games to go and with the NFC West and #1 seed in the NFC still very much in their sights, Griffin claims the Seahawks weren’t particularly prepared for the Giants.
It’ll be fine — it’s just Colt McCoy.
They play in the NFC Least.
And guess what? The Giants came into Seattle and punched the Seahawks in the mouth. They were the superior team — even without their quarterback or Saquon Barkley. They had a game-plan that made sense, they executed better and they were more physical.
They wanted it more.
Now the #1 seed looks like a pipe dream. The Seahawks are relegated to second place in the NFC West. They’ve wasted a 5-0 start by going 3-4 in the following seven games. Unless they avoid dropping to 1-6 against the Rams in week 16, they’ll be staring at a record of one NFC West title in six years. Six years.
The worst thing is — Griffin’s words match what we saw on the field.
After the 24-0 loss to Pittsburgh in 2011, Carroll vowed never to let a team bully the Seahawks again. They set about creating a team in the mould of the Steelers and Ravens. Physicality, punishing hits and a combination of great running and a brilliant defense were to be the catalyst for a change in Seattle’s fortunes.
They emphatically achieved it.
Yet by the end of the 2015 season, John Schneider was speaking of the need to re-create the bully. They wanted to be the tone-setter once more, after a year in which they failed to intimidate opponents.
Five years on, they’re still not the bully. Not even close.
They don’t punch anyone in the mouth. They don’t seem to leave any opponent reeling. Rebuilding teams such as the Giants come to Seattle and get after them.
And now we have a supposed key starter explaining away a hugely disappointing loss as ‘taking a team lightly’ when the season was on the line.
If ever there was a statement to undermine everything Carroll strives for — this is it.
Sure, the occasional tough run by Chris Carson or a D.K. Metcalf stiff-arm might make you think this is still a tough team. But they aren’t. They are finesse. Now we know they can, occasionally, look beyond an opponent too.
10 years into the Carroll era and three-years into the reset, isn’t this just the most disappointing quote you’ve seen in a long time?
And what exactly does it say about the future direction of this team?
They aren’t going to prove anything against the Jets. No amount of flexing will make a win against the NFL’s worst team feel like a comeback.
The Seahawks have three games — Washington, LA and San Francisco — to prove themselves. I think they have to now. Otherwise they deserve the criticism that will follow.
It wasn’t the only maddening quote this week.
Brian Schottenheimer also confessed he wishes the Seahawks had adjusted more quickly against the Giants and taken more of what they were given underneath.
These thoughts were more or less echoed by Carroll and Russell Wilson.
Are we living in bizarro world?
The offense scored three points in the first half. Three.
You don’t need years of coaching experience or a lengthy playing career to see what they were doing on offense wasn’t working.
Yet they kept going — again and again. They constantly looked for the big shot downfield. Wilson kept holding onto the ball and subsequently getting hit. The Giants mastered their coverage with two deep safety’s (something that has been an issue for multiple weeks already) and the end result was a shambles.
The absolute minimum they needed to do was adjust. They shouldn’t be speaking about adjusting quicker. Making the wrong adjustment? Anyone can live with that.
Not adjusting quickly enough — or at all? That’s unacceptable.
Championship caliber teams don’t fail to adjust and they don’t take opponents lightly.
It’s as simple as that.
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